sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

Like most people I know, I do my best and most productive work late into the AM. This is generally seen as a bad habit, even by those who do it, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who tries to “fix his schedule” every other day.

One reason I’d like to fix my schedule is because I feel if I wake up early and get my work done, I have “the whole day ahead of me.” This is true, but in reality, I have the rest of the day ahead of me no matter what my schedule is like. If I wake up at 5 AM, 12 PM or 3 PM, I have the same amount of time between when I awoke and when I’m going back to bed. It only feels like waking up late eats most of my day because I subconsciously go through the day still intending to sleep at the early bed time I set for yourself; i.e., 11 – 1AM. If I give up the idea of trying to fix my schedule and accept that I will be awake late, I suddenly feel I unlocked more time.

For people who have jobs or classes to attend in the morning, getting up early isn’t a choice. In that case, there’s no doubt you need to fix your schedule. What matters is getting enough sleep. That aside, there are many benefits to waking up early in the morning:

  • Being up late at night can be depressing, especially when there’s nobody around.
  • Staying up late is usually the result of worse habits, like bad time management. Perhaps a feeling of “I wasted the entire day, and now I don’t want to sleep before I get something done.”
  • In most places, evenĀ  New York, being up late in the AM is much more limiting than being up at night. Things you might need to get stuff off your todo list, like banks, libraries and post offices, will be closed.
  • People are far less likely to think you’re a drug abuser or a zombie if you wake up early morning.

With those benefits, why not fix your schedule? Accepting that your schedule is bad and taking the above factors into account, there’s really not much harm in staying up late. If you do wake up and sleep early, you might not get anything done if you’re poor at managing your day.

I noticed if I wake up early, I feel lazy just because I know I have so much time ahead to get things done. It’s idiotic and easily fixed if I look at the big picture, but I generally have no obligations in the morning and so no real reason to be up. I work from home with no fixed schedule, and if I take classes they’re almost always after 12 PM.The stress and pressure of feeling guilty for staying up late aren’t worth the benefits of waking up early. Being up in the morning is overrated, especially when you’re getting enough sleep and getting things done.

Re-evaluate if you really need to fix your sleeping schedule, and then if you do: Fix it. Wake up at the same time everyday, no matter when you sleep. Don’t take naps and your body will naturally adjust to make sure you get the right amount of sleep. You’ll begin to feel tired later in the day, and more energized in the morning, provided you give your body enough time to get used to the change. Just be aware that you will likely not be able to get anything done the first 2-3 days. I tend to feel like indifferent, tired and dysphoric while waiting for my body to adjust. That’s OK. Just realize this is normal and will go away, otherwise this withdrawal syndrome will keep you tied to your bad schedule.

Posted in Bad Habits, Sleep, Stress, Time Management at June 18th, 2009. No Comments.

Giving up can be beneficial, or rather: Not knowing when to give up can be detrimental to your health (in the form of stress) and to your productivity. Being overwhelmed with many things to do and no sense of priority (no deadlines) usually means nothing will get done.

We all do it. We write down ideas we have with the intention of getting to them eventually. We register domain names for projects we plan to work on, and we might even begin working on a project as soon as we get the idea for it.

You wake up in the middle of the night and write down some new idea. You note it on your Blackberry, or in the corner of your notebook in class, or you record a voice note, or create a new file for it.

Eventually, we end up with a notebook or a folder containing dozens or even hundreds of ideas and plans. Most of them we have not started, nor even thought about after we recorded them. Some are maybe 5-10% complete, and a few maybe at least 50% done. This is normal, but it can quickly turn into a bad habit.

We become so backed up, that new ideas which may be brilliant quickly get thrown to the end of our project queue, which by now is populated by ideas we’ve had months ago that we still plan on getting to, eventually. This means that most new ideas will remain deferred.

We also feel an accumulating amount of stressed because each plan we have allocates a little space in the back of our mind (the idea stays in our mental RAM). Prioritizing becomes damn near impossible. This is especially a problem when we believe that an idea is “easy” or will take a short amount of time. This is a bad habit.

“Giving up” on some of these ideas and plans doesn’t occur to some people. It didn’t occur to me for a long time. I had intentions to work on all the projects I brainstormed, even when I was renewing the domains I registered for them years ago, that were sitting around inactive.

My brain was full of things I wanted, or felt I needed to get done, but in reality my interest in most of my previous plans had dwindled long ago, and I only held on to them because they remained unique (at least as far as I knew), or because I still thought they had potential, and many of them probably did, and still do. Maybe I felt guilty that I had paid for some resources for a project (such as a domain name, or supplies), and felt a dire need to get at least something done with the resources.

I just let a few hundred dollars worth of domain names expire, and I’m looking for all the books I planned to read years ago, and putting them up for sale. This problem occurs a lot with books. I hate having a queue of books I plan on reading, and then going to the library and coming home with 6 new books that I feel a greater urge to get through because of the return date. And when I go return them, I usually come home with more.

We all have an overwhelming number of projects we’d like to work on. We have a lot of things we’d like to pursue. This is normal, but we don’t have the manpower to get all of these projects even half way done – at least not with any amount of quality that would suffice ever starting on them. It’s time to give up.

Give up. Admit to yourself that you have not gotten to this in a year, and will probably never get to it, and that’s OK. It’s OK if somebody else releases something you intended to a year ago. Keep in mind that not doing anything is the same as intending to do something but never actually doing it.

Also realize that you’re impeding your time, brain power, and other resources from being used to improve things you’ve nearly finished, or on starting a new project that you might have thought up this morning.

Let it go. You might have wasted $10, $20, even $100 registering that domain name, but if it’s just sitting there – and if it has been sitting there for 2 years, what makes you think it won’t remain inactive for another 2 years – then you’re only wasting more money.

It’s similar to how people hold on to a falling stock just to avoid taking a loss, because they fail to see that losing a little is not the same as losing everything. This is also why some people become pack rats, or hold on to certain things they don’t use anymore.

Keep in mind that very few of your brilliant ideas and projects will actually come out as you see them in your head. Most will flop, and the ones you least expect to flourish, will.

No matter what type of project you’re working on, it will require a lot of time, money, a lot of thinking and problem solving, and even way more doing – mostly tedious work. If you think your idea is simple and will only take a few days to release, you’re probably wrong. The actual technical work might take 2 hours, but when you calculate a more realistic, objective, estimate of how long something takes, you almost always come up with a figure way larger than you expected.

For example, changing your car’s oil might take 15 minutes, but this figure might not count all the other necessary steps: Getting the supplies, moving the car to a suitable location, jacking up the car, doing any initial cleaning and preparations, doing the work, cleaning up, and taking into account the fact that in real life, shit happens. I.e., a small nut gets lost, or you realize you’re missing something essential, or you make a mistake.

Besides, do you really want to put all the effort into some small project that you think might have a chance of getting anywhere? Especially when you’re competing with some other people in the world who are focusing solely on this exact idea, and have much more passion about it?

Sit down and jot all the things you need to get done, and then examine each one realistically. Prioritize, and realize that you don’t always have to note down or pursue every single idea you get.